Comments of Consumers Union Concerning Consumer On-Line Privacy - P954807
These are comments and a request to testify, submitted by Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. in the above-captioned matter. Resumes of the two suggested witnesses are attached.
Consumers Union (CU) addresses some of the issues that are the subject of the Commission's inquiry in two articles in the just-published May 1997 issue of Consumer Reports. Attached for the record are copies of the articles "Is Your Kid Caught Up In the Web?" and "Is Your Computer Spying On You," both of which appear in that issue.
The first of these two articles reflects CU testing and evaluation of parental control computer software. In addition to the information contained in the article, the CU editor who prepared this article will soon conduct additional tests and evaluation of these software packages to determine whether they prevent children from providing their name, telephone number and/or address over the telephone and to determine whether they perform as claimed in their advertising and/or on their packaging. The second of these articles addresses the issue of the undisclosed commercial capture of information about visitors to popular internet web sites and the lack of control that such persons may have over the capture and use of this information.
We request that the editor of these two articles, Jeffrey Fox, an Assistant Editor of Consumer Reports, be listed to testify at the scheduled June hearings to address issues related to sessions 2 and 3 of the hearings.
Further, CU is conducting a survey on children and the internet for a fall issue of our children's magazine, Zillions. This survey, its analysis and the resulting editorial material will be prepared under the direction of Charlotte Baecher, Consumers Union's Education Director. We request that she be listed to testify at the June hearings to address issues related to session 3 of the hearings.